Only two days away from his fight at Fight Quest: Battle Grounds in Bakersfield, CA; “Relentless” Ryan Bastianelli stepped into Combat Fitness in Concord, CA for one last training session.

In one of his last practices leading up to Saturday’s bout, the Oklahoma native worked out with teammate and Strikeforce Middleweight; Eric Lawson.

Bastianelli (3-0), a natural 135 pounder, faces off against Sacramento, CA resident Nelson Ocampo (0-5) at 140 pounds. Training for this bout has not been as routine as one would think. According to Bastianelli, Ocampo was not exactly the first or second opponent that he was originally scheduled to face.

“My opponent has changed three times. The first guy I was supposed to fight was going to be at 150. I believe the second guy that I was supposed to fight, he said he broke his toe, he pulled out and that was supposed to be at 145. Now I’m fighting (Ocampo) at 140.”

Ocampo may not have a stellar record; however, he likes to strike and has more experience in professional fights than the former ASU wrestler. Although he may not know much about his opponent, Bastianelli believes his wrestling base can overcome anything Ocampo may have to offer if the fight hits the floor. “On the ground…I don’t see him having any success on the ground no matter what.”

The revolving door of opponents and varying weight changes leading up to this bout has not affected Bastianelli’s focus or training. Nonetheless, it could be a problem preparing for future opposition down the road. “Necessarily, right now (the change of opponents) doesn’t affect me. Maybe later on in my career when I am preparing for those tough opponents. At this point in my career, pretty much all of my fights, I feel the guy out for the first thirty seconds or so and go to work.”

“Relentless” will not be taking any time off after his Fight Quest bout. Bastianelli has signed on to fight at Cage Combat 10 in Santa Rosa, CA on February 21st and hopes to fight on the first Strikeforce card of the year.

“I wanted ’09 to be a busy year and (having) two fights back-to-back is the way to start it off. I’ll start dealing with (the Cage Combat fight) after this Saturday. I’ve got my sights set on that April Strikeforce card with Eric. After Feburary I plan on being 5-0 and I plan on getting offered a deal from Strikeforce to fight. I won at “Young Guns”, I’ll be 5-0 and I think its well deserving to fight on the big show.”

2009 presents new challenges and opportunities for the Combat Fitness Bantamweight. An April Strikeforce card may not be that far away; however, a fight with Nelson Ocampo occurs in thirty-six hours and a Cage Combat fight follows three weeks later.

While he may have lofty goals and aspirations, Bastianelli faces a tough year ahead. It remains to be seen if his ability and desire will allow him to fulfill those objectives. That being said, Ryan Bastianelli appears to be a fighter that fans, promoters and Bantamweights should have on their radars in 2009.

By: Matt De La Rosa

Check out PRO MMA’s exclusive “Training Camp” photo gallery featuring “Relentless” Ryan Bastianelli’s entire practice by visiting the PRO MMA ( photo gallery here.

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